Mongolian Spots

Chris Woolston

Chris Woolston

Updated on May 29, 2022


Mongolian spots -- more properly called slate grey nevi -- are very common birthmarks. They are flat and bluish-gray, almost bruise-like. You might be concerned if such a mark show up on your baby, but there's often little reason to worry. Mongolian spots don't hurt, and they won't get any worse as a child gets older. In fact, they often fade over time.

However, recent research suggests that some Mongolian spots are associated with inborn errors of metabolism , which may be linked to conditions such as Hunter's syndrome. Do show the Mongolian spots to your doctor so he or she can make a referral if necessary.

Also, it is good to let your doctor and pediatrician know about the spots beforehand because they are sometimes mistaken for bruises, which could be mistaken for child abuse.

By the time your child is in grade school, there's a good chance that you wont be able to see the mark at all. And since the marks most often show up in out-of-the-way places ---usually the lower back but also possibly the buttocks, arms, and legs -- they aren't likely to affect a child's appearance or self-esteem. You may need to explain them to some doctors or clinicians, though, especially if they are not familiar with them.

Nobody knows what causes mongolian spots. Any baby can be born with them, but they are most common in babies with dark skin, including babies of Asian, African, or Native American heritage.


Cleveland Clinic. Birthmarks.

Mayo Clinic. Birthmarks slide show.

Nemours Foundation. Birthmarks.

Gupta, D and Thappa DM. Mongolian Sports: How important are they? World J Clin Cases. 1 (8): 230-32.

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